‘Pepper’ not so hot

WB dramedy fails to draw debut auds

This just in: “Pepper Dennis” — starring Rebecca Romijn as a Chicago TV reporter — got off to a disappointing start Tuesday night, while fellow midseason entries “Sons & Daughters” and “Teachers” declined to new lows.

On the flip side, viewers were open to “House,” as the Fox drama drew its best ratings ever and the top numbers ever for a series airing behind the “American Idol” juggernaut.

“Pepper Dennis” premiered to positive reviews but didn’t wow auds, averaging just 2.6 million viewers, as well as a 1.0 rating/3 share among adults 18-49 and 1.1/3 with the net’s target 12-34 set. In comparison, the previous timeslot holder — the on-hiatus “Supernatural” — has been averaging a 1.8/5 in the Frog’s preferred demo.

The romantic comedy/drama also lost a chunk of its solid “Gilmore Girls” lead-in (4.5 million viewers, 2.2/7 with persons 12-34), which managed to beat both ABC and NBC for the hour among both viewers and adults 18-49 (1.9/5).

Overall it was a rough night at the Alphabet, which hasn’t been able to attract much of a crowd to back-to-back showings of “Sons & Daughters” despite strong critical praise.

The show’s two half-hours both averaged a 1.2/3 in adults 18-49 at 9 and 9:30 p.m., barely squeaking by “Pepper Dennis” and posting ABC’s worst-ever ratings for a firstrun show in the timeslot. It didn’t help that the episodes had a rough lead-in: “Hope & Faith” scored just a 1.3/3 at 8:30 against “Idol.”

As a result, the WB managed to tie ABC for fourth place on Tuesday, with both nets averaging a 1.5/4 in adults 18-49.

Over at NBC, week two of “Teachers” dropped 24% in the demo from its premiere (2.5/6 vs. 3.3/8); the Peacock recovered at 10 p.m. to win the hour with “Law & Order: SVU” (5.4/14).

Meanwhile, the competish didn’t come close to Fox, which easily won 8 p.m. thanks, as usual, to “Idol” (11.6/32) — even as the figures dipped slightly from last week. (The number was still up a strong 13% from 9.9/29 for the same week last year.)

The slight week-to-week “Idol” decline made “House’s” perf at 9 p.m. all the more impressive. “House” posted a 9.3 rating/23 share in the demo and averaged 22.7 million viewers overall.

“House” wound up with its best marks yet in every major measurement. What’s more, the show performed a feat mastered by no other drama airing behind “Idol”: Tuesday night’s “House” actually added viewers from half-hour to half-hour.

Fox easily won the night in viewers (25.8 million) and adults 18-49 (10.4/27). CBS was second for the night in both (13.5 million viewers, 3.7/10 adults 18-49), while NBC was third in the young adult demo (3.2/8), followed by ABC and the WB.

UPN, airing all repeats, wasn’t a factor on Tuesday.

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